Schneider Electric steps up to Edge Computing – What about Malaysia?

  • 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created & processed at the edge by 2025
  • In Malaysia only 9.1% of companies surveyed have a future interest in edge projects

Schneider Electric steps up to Edge Computing – What about Malaysia?

Last month, at a briefing in Singapore, Schneider Electric made its case that edge computing is the future, and they are more than ready to help anybody who wants to ‘go there’ - even if indications are that countries like Malaysia seem less ready than others.

Although there are several definitions of edge computing currently being bandied about, the one used by Schneider Electric was about getting high-powered computing as close as possible to the data source.

"With the advent of IoT, there is a huge wave ahead of us," said Dave Johnson (pic, below), Schneider Electric executive vice president, Secure Power Division. He highlighted data from the Gartner Group that showed currently only 10 % of enterprise-generated data is created and processed at the edge, but this figure will rise to 75 % by 2025. "There are at least five to ten years of exciting opportunities for us."Schneider Electric steps up to Edge Computing – What about Malaysia?

Schneider Electric is partnering with companies such as HP, Dell, and Cisco to deliver server solutions that are integrated with deployment, security and management services.

Schneider is keen to point out that they are not merely "pushing boxes" but instead see their role as helping guarantee server and service availability. "Anyone can copy hardware," explained Jim Simonelli, Schneider Electric senior vice president of Emerging Businesses, Secure Power Division, "But when you start embedding the software and services on top of that - that's very hard to copy."


The growth of IoT – and edge computing

During their Singapore event, Glen Duncan, IDC associate research director with the Asia/Pacific Domain research group, presented survey data to support the claim that edge computing is an exciting new growth area.

In 2018, 1,150 executives from Asian countries were asked about their strategy to implement edge computing in the next 12 months. Although 60% said they had no plans, 20% said they would already be implementing security, and 14% said they would be performing data processing at the edge. Duncan pointed out that enforcing security is natural preparatory step before rolling out services to the edge.

In fact, he said that by 2022, 40% of enterprises will double their IT asset spending in edge locations and nearby co-location facilities, and about 26% say the data collected will be analysed at the edge.

Duncan also identified a trend of hyper-converged appliances, where servers will begin to incorporate storage, computing and networking hypervisor into a single stack. He estimates that companies will deploy about half of these all-in-one packages to the edge, and correlates growth in hype-converged appliances with the likely growth of edge computing.


Malaysia, lagging at the edge?

IDC's worldwide quarterly convergent systems tracking demonstrates the strong growth (as measured in CAGR) of hyper-converged appliances in Southeast Asia (SEA). Singapore's is at 31.8 %, while Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines all show numbers of over 20%.

However, Malaysia's figure is at 16.5%, less than half that of Singapore's.

Although Duncan was quick to note that growth of hyper-converged appliances doesn't necessarily directly equate to growth of edge computing (or digitisation), Malaysia's seemingly low ambition is corroborated by Schneider Electric's survey of its customers, which showed Malaysia's future interest in edge facility projects to be only 9.1% of those surveyed.

In stark comparison, Singapore's number is 28.6%, and Indonesia is at 26.1%.

It should also be noted that the tech ecosystem is awash with various surveys on specific tech trends and these should not be taken to represent a country’s overall tech readiness. For instance in late September the IMD releases its World Digital Competitiveness 2019 ranking where Malaysia, at 26th spot, was ranked higher than any SEA country except for Singapore which was ranked 2nd.

Meanwhile Duncan proposed a rather pointed reason for Malaysia’s low interest: “The country's had massive transformation itself both politically and economically,” he said. “The new government took over and they rolled back a number of contracts. That would have slowed down purchasing.”

Nevertheless, he cautioned reading too much into the actual figure. "Despite this, you still have got  significant growth coming through," he said, adding, "There's a whole range of economic and political demands within that number".

Nevertheless, indications are that Malaysia could still do better, “If you ask me who are the high-growth markets in the region, Indonesia and Thailand are more aggressively open for business," he said.

Meanwhile, he advised countries who were far behind in digitisation to not fret, given the multiple examples of countries capitalising on the latest technologies to leapfrog those hampered by legacy infrastructure. "All it needs is good politicians who are technology and economic-focused.”

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